Tonight, I was listening to some music that was popular when I was a young boy, in the mid 80’s. Bear that in mind, because what I am about to describe was not that long ago, and that should make you think about how far this country has come in a short time. Anyway, the music got me to thinking about my early school experiences. We were normal boys, thinking that girls had special germs (‘cooties’ or something like that), and we were more interested in catching bees, playing dodgeball and fighting at recess. (It was hard to play regular sports, like football, until we were in 5th grade; that’s when we were old enough to play near the equipment and therefore, in the football field.) We got kinda bored with all that, so I started something new; I would bring my toy guns (of which I had a rather extensive collection – thanks, dad) to school and we would play all sorts of games, like cops and robbers, cowboys and indians and a game called ‘army’, where the bad guys were Russian and the good guys were American (of course) and nobody wanted to be a Russian; in fact, the arguments over who would be the Russians could get rather heated and sometimes ended up in fisticuffs. The winner (don’t ask how we decided that) would get to choose which side they would represent in the next round; so it was important to win, no matter what, so you wouldn’t be the dreaded Red Menace. (This was years before I’d ever met a Russian person, many of whom I know now, and some of whom are dear, freedom-loving friends.) See, in school, in those days, we were taught patriotic songs, how fortunate we were to live in the US of A and how hard those poor folks in other countries had it. We were also taught that communism was bad and even immoral. Those were the times. And there are those who would knock those times. (More on that in a minute.) I never understood in those days why the teachers would laugh, when they came to break up the arguments/fights over who would be Russia, when we explained what caused the ruckus. Our having toy guns was not even an issue to them. You know what they did when our fights were bad, as in bloody nose, etc.? They put us ‘against the wall’ for the rest of recess/lunch; the lesson was not to let the fight get too bad. The only time I ever saw someone get spanked for fighting was when bullies would pick on the smaller kids, or someone did something ‘vicious’ (by the standards of those days), like walk up to an innocent person and punch him in the nose. The only thing that irked our teachers about our toy guns is that sometimes during seat work, we’d pull them out and point them at each other, sometimes breaking into a classroom version of one of the games mentioned earlier. They’d threaten to take the guns away until the end of the day, if we didn’t put them up and do our work.
Bringing toy guns to school and pretending to shoot each other; fighting. These things nowadays would mean suspension, MINIMUM; the threat of expulsion and even arrest are also very real.
Let me tell you what got kids into REAL trouble in those days; running your mouth to the teacher; lying to the teacher; not obeying instructions; stealing. These were the kind of things where the teacher would shut the class down, everyone would get deathly quiet, and you knew that it was not going to be good for the guilty party. And when the guilty party confessed, which was most of the time, they went straight to the principal’s office. The teacher would leave the class unattended for several very quiet and nervous minutes while s/he dragged the troublemaker’s bohunk before the principal. Later, you’d hear how Johnathan’s momma, or daddy, or (God forbid) both, would show up to take Johnny home for a second spanking (after the one the principal administered). When the teacher got back, you can be sure that every kid in that class was intent on behaving and doing their work.
I’m late finishing college, because i worked a lot after high school; thankfully, I’m almost done. A friend of mine is a teacher, and he helped me get a job at a local charter high school, as a math and science tutor; it’s a good job, good pay and lots of down time to study. I’m thinking perhaps of one day teaching (after we’re done saving the country), so the job was a very nice and fortunate thing. The very first day, in the very first hour, I saw a student get caught in a lie by the teacher (I had observed as well as the teacher the actions that the student lied about), and then when asked (not confronted), he ran his mouth at the teacher, telling the teacher that what the teacher said was b.s. (in the full version of the words). The teacher’s reaction? ‘Okay, so-and-so, just do your work, alright?’ I was floored. Even when I was in high school in the late 90’s, you didn’t see that. The teacher would have escorted you to the principal’s office, and there’d a been hell to pay.
Now, as I said earlier, there are folks who knock the times in which I was in elementary school. You could still say a lot of politically incorrect things, and no one blinked an eye. You could fight in school, and not much happened. You could bring toy guns to school, point them at each other, say in a game, right in front of the principal, to your playmate, ‘I’m gonna kill you!’ and no one blinked an eye. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that we who were in cub scouts would bring our pocketknives to school, with the faculty’s full knowledge and blessing; cub scouts were respected. We NEVER worried about anyone cutting us. The WORST KID in the school wouldn’t have dreamed of bringing a weapon to school, and we had some tough ones. A school shooting was beyond our wildest imagination. Then, the big, BIG sins in school were to show disrespect, to lie and to steal.
Toy guns, fights, pocket knives, ‘i’m gonna kill you’ in a game, all chalked up to ‘boys will be boys’. We never dreamed of killing a fellow student, or of even threatening a teacher. If we got in that much trouble for lying or mouthing off, we couldn’t imagine what would happen if we did something crazy like that.
Now lying, cheating, stealing, disrespecting authority and elders, are attributed to ‘that’s how kids are going to be’. You have metal detectors and police at the schools (including the one I work at, in the same town I went to elementary in). You can’t even joke about guns or bombs, without at minimum suspension. In spite of all this, the next Columbine is (sorry to say and God forbid) in all likelihood just a matter of time.
How far we’ve come in such a short time; again, I’m not that old (30).
We can attribute these problems to all sorts of things; bad teachers, political correctness, frivolous lawsuits, Dr. Spock and on and on…
I think first off, the problem is bad parents.
Too many parents want the school to babysit their kids. I actually think many of these people want the school system to raise their kids. The schools are charged with this responsibility, but the tools they need to do this right (prayer in school, punishment, teaching general concepts of right and wrong, and on and on) have been taken from them. The parents show no support for the teachers when they correct the kids; when I was in primary and secondary school, the parent by default took the faculty’s side, until all the info was out. Now, it is the exact opposite.
But the point of this post is not to harp on the causes of the problems in school. I am merely pointing out what I think is an interesting observation; when you place the moral and disciplinary focus on respecting authority, honesty and forthrightness, everything else takes care of itself. When you don’t treat those things as serious, all hell breaks loose.
The same jerks who undermined our schools, by first getting rid of prayer, then corporal punishment, and then value judgements of any kind (any kind, that is, except the Marxist agenda they now promulgate) knock the days when I was in elementary as backward and unenlightened; they shudder to think that PC was a non-entity, that fist fights were taken as normal behavior of boys and that patriotism was an expected quality of all good American students. And many of them are smug about their accomplishing the destruction of all that and the replacing of it with an effeminate ( in the classical sense), touchy-feely, non-judgmental, ‘no rules’ emotional environment. But what have their ‘accomplishments’ gotten us? School shootings, pervert teachers, teenagers who think that it’s cool to have a baby out of wedlock (see that recent poll?), absurd levels of drug use, in short, a nihilistic generation of young people who will be soon voting (if they even have the desire to do so), and who have no hope about the future.
So, after reading this long-winded post, you must be wondering, ‘what’s the point, dude? get it out already!’
I’ve noticed that there’s been some discussion about whether we on the right should not worry about social conservatism, and instead focus on fiscal conservatism. I’ve seen some say that without an economy, we have nothing.
I’m pretty sure they’re wrong.
We didn’t have half the problems the schools have now; and I’m pretty sure we had less money in the schools. I know that we had about 15 computers in a very large, well-off elementary school; the school I work at now has computers for literally every student. Teachers get paid much better now than they did when I was a kid. The teacher’s unions have gotten stronger, meaning more benefits for the teachers. And yet, the problems in the school get worse. The great post-Reagan economy didn’t do a damned thing to solve those problems.
Funny, how when I was kid, things that didn’t cost a penny did the trick. Teaching honesty, respect and forthrightness did.
I think those who think that without an economy we can’t have social conservatism have it wrong. I think without social conservatism (read: traditional values) we can’t have a country.
One last note; it may be argued (as I would) that a good economy might actually hurt social conservatism; where was all this widespread anger towards Big Government when the economy was good? Having less money often means getting your priorities straight. You become more cut-and-dry. Less ‘tolerant’ of b.s. Maybe we could do to have an economic dry spell. (By the way, we tutors have been rationed on the amount of hours we can work; I help my dad with his business and we are oil-field dependent. There’s a great chance that when i get out of college next year, I won’t be able to find a decent job, and one of my degrees is very high demand (math). I don’t want anyone thinking I’m saying all these things about austerity from a comfortable cocoon. ) When you’re making money, you get fat and soft and, frankly, stupid.
Maybe instead of thinking that the economy will solve all our problems, we should, as many fine people here and elsewhere have argued, should look to God and to morals. Then the rest will take care of itself.